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A man who stole a young girl’s birthday money before officers swooped in and gave her a birthday surprise to remember has been jailed.
Stephen Condliffe, 33, of no fixed address, stole a £20 note that was on the counter whilst a birthday girl, eight, went to buy a magazine at a Londis store on Carlton Avenue in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent on 2 May.
Local officers rallied round and raised over £100 and bought a birthday cake and balloons for the girl.
Chief Inspector Mark Barlow, commander for Stoke North Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This girl was walking around the shop and planned to buy a magazine with a £20 note she was given for her birthday but Condliffe stole it.
“He was challenged by the shopkeeper but denied it and left. She was understandably upset so my officers chipped in some of their own cash to surprise the girl along with a cake, balloons and her own personal sing song at her address.
“Condliffe could have ruined her birthday but Staffordshire Police gave her one to remember instead.”
He was sentenced to nine weeks after pleading guilty to the theft of chocolate worth £7 and theft by finding the £20. Condliffe was also wanted on recall and therefore jailed until September.